Butterfly Angels

Butterfly Angels Three

The annual art fair at church got me painting something new.  My husband cut the butterfly shapes out of scrap wood, and I loved on them with paint.

The first one was the Blue Butterfly Angel. She fluttered in slowly over a couple of weeks.  I didn’t plan too much and let her come.  This is good for me, because in the past, I’ve planned too much. My goal has been to be more abstract.

Butterfly angel in blue.jpg

 

The second was a Butterfly Angel Mermaid. I made one like this for my granddaughter, and I know mermaids sell big where I live, so I’ll probably make more.  She took a couple of days as the date for the art fair approached.

butterfly mermaid nov 2017

Right after I finished the mermaid, I started on the third angel. I knew this one would special because I could see angel signs in the grain of the wood. I had traced the shape with the stencil to use the indented oval (a knot hole?) for the “face.” This piece flowed more quickly because, 1. I was warmed up, and 2. I let myself go allowing the wood grain, and the angel, to guide me. It was an emotional experience reminding me that this is the work of my heart.

christmas-tree-angel-with-green-face.jpg

I let some of the wood show through on this one. And used a melted marble for the face.

I was a counselor for most of my life. Recently, I have become a writer. But drawing and painting have always come easier to me than anything else. I’ve been an artist since I was a child. For years, I’ve heard a voice urging me to paint angels! The peace  I feel when I heed that call is like coming home.

I sold the mermaid at the art fair and have plans for the Blue Butterfly Angel. But it’s okay if I keep the running/dancing tree angel who reminds me to let go and follow my heart.

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The Long and Winding Road of Becoming Me

She thew away her masks and put on her soul

First, I wanted to be a veterinarian

and save the whales

Or maybe a biologist

and save the world.

But way before that,

I was an artist.

I could draw dogs and horses

All day long.

No one taught me this.

I just did it.

And people said I was a good.

I loved to write,

And make up stories in my head.

But I didn’t value those stories much.

I didn’t value my drawings and paintings

As much as I wanted to save the planet

But trigonometry hurt my brain.

So I ended up in the mind field.

Fixing me more than anyone else.

While God helped me

Help people

Save themselves.

And taught me things

I needed to learn

About saving time for me.

Along the way,

I’ve saved dogs,

I’ve saved cats,

I’ve saved trees,

And  God saved me some time.

Because the long and winding road

Never disappears.

It always lead me back to my roots

Back to the work of my soul.

 

 

I love how this song can be about anything we want to come back home to.

One-Liner Wednesday: It’s Never Too Late

1linerwedsbadgewes

 

“It’s Never Too Late to Become What you Might Have Been.”

 

I’m counting on it.

Since I was ten years old, I’ve had a talent for drawing. And I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. But I never pursued these creative arts seriously. I just didn’t think they were important enough.

Now, I’m about to turn 61. Beyond midlife. Or maybe not, but it doesn’t matter, because I have today and hopefully tomorrow.

Inspired by Jana Green’s post:

http://thebeggarsbakery.net/2015/12/11/the-dream-makers-daughters-women-stepping-out-in-mid-life/

One Liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda Hill at

https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/07/one-liner-wednesday-the-answer-is-right-in-front-of-you/

Here’s what Linda says about the rules:

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

The Girl on the Right

Be the girl on the right

For most of my life, I’ve felt like the girl in the middle – watching, worrying, and wondering if I can do that, and if I can do it the right way. If I had ever taken ballet, I would definitely have been her, because learning choreographed dance moves has always been hard for me. It took me years and extra practice to even learn the simple Electric Slide. Once I learn it, I have it down pretty good, though.

Let me go practice that slide, to make sure……. Well, I might need a refresher.

Occasionally, I’ve been like the girl in between the middle girl (the old me) and the girl on the right, the one who is doing it correctly. I love the approval I get when I’m a “good girl.”

But I’ve rarely been the girl on the right. Oh, I’ve thought about it, imagined doing things differently, breaking outside the box, but my default position has been to be careful. That girl on the right, she might get yelled at. I hate to get yelled at. She might be told she is not a good dancer.

Though I’m not good at structured, programed dancing, where everyone is doing the same thing, I’m not bad  great at free style movement, especially in the privacy of my own living room.

But this isn’t just about dancing, is it? I need to stop worrying about people being mad at me, or thinking I’m not good at….whatever it is I want to do. I just need to do what feels right and good to me. Because I’m not a little girl anymore, and time is zipping along.

(I found this photo/meme on Facebook, so if it’s yours, please let me know. It was too good to pass up.)

A Forest of Dreams

Here’s the follow up to “Coming Home to Art.” I hope you enjoy the fantastic creatures on the Forest of Dreams mural!

Anything is Possible!

cover

In the face of so much sadness and violence in the world, one community came together and created something beautiful.

When they didn’t get the grant they applied for, Professor Janna Robertson and Matt Carvin, the director of Dreams, an arts program for at-risk youth, put their heads together. The goal was to paint a mural on a 240 foot wall to beautify the neighborhood known as Northside where Dreams is located. They decided to ask community groups to sponsor creatures to inhabit the Forest of Dreams. Over 1000 volunteers worked on the mural, and I was honored to be one of them. We worked in the rain and the heat, with lots of ants and other crawly things, and I loved every minute of it. Not only was I doing something I loved, but the  consistently positive attitudes of the people around me gave me hope. I’ve never before…

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Coming Home to Art

JoAnne painting rabbits

Painting bunnies in the Forest of Dreams

I  did it!  On the 1st day of June, at the age of 60, I made a leap of faith by cutting back to one day a week at my counseling job. Accepting my new-ish husband’s offer of financial support so that I could spend more time following my creative dreams has been scary. I was the super responsible bread winner for over thirty years, during my first marriage, and then as a single mom. Could I trust a man to support me?  But weary of the  burdens of growing paperwork in the mental health field, I  knew it was time to honor my own needs. God gave me creative talents, but I had not valued them, or maybe I needed to learn some things before coming back to the creative arts. Either way, I’m more thankful than I can express.

The synchronicity of perfect timing affirmed my decision. At the end of May, as my leaping day approached, I won blue ribbons for writing and sold one of my original paintings along with a couple of prints at Silver Arts, part of Senior Games. It was also in the second half of May that I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and got valuable feedback. And in May, I started working on the community mural, A Forest of Dreams. Support of my artistic skill flowed freely, nurturing my decision to follow the call back home to art.

Not that painting and writing are easy. I’m not fast. I don’t think I’ve ever been fast at anything. But when I paint or write, or play my guitar, I lose track of time. I become absorbed in the creative process that feeds my soul.

I’m not sharing all this to toot my own horn, though it’s okay to do that. I ask you to celebrate with me, and to know, this:

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  Mary Ann Evans/George Eliot

Later this week, I’ll write  more about the Forest of Dreams Mural in “Anything is Possible,” and I’ll share that post here on “Loving Me, Too.” Thanks for reading and for sharing this journey with me!

Kicking the Self-Doubt Gremlin’s Butt

gremlin from pixabay

A little monster from Pixabay

Last night, I went to the local awards ceremony for Silver Arts which is part of Senior Games. I didn’t even know Senior Games includes not only an art category, but also a literary category, until a couple months ago when the Silver Arts coordinator stood at the door of another art show handing out applications for Silver Arts.

At the show last night, there were so many beautiful paintings without ribbons, it wasn’t hard to accept that my two paintings did not get any ribbons. Then I went to the literary arts table and discovered that two of my three entries had blue ribbons next to them. What a nice surprise!

 

Dreams of Wild Communion Problem Step Dog

I found out later that there weren’t many entries for the literary arts categories. And though   I saw that there were other entries for my categories of poetry and life experience, because there were second and third place winners, I heard the whispers of the gremlin of self- doubt telling me my ribbons weren’t that valuable because there weren’t that many entries.

Then, this morning, I woke up trying to figure out what this dream meant:

I was sitting on a couch in a room with a few other people. From the floor, two young boys pulled on my skirt. It was my favorite comfortable knit skirt. They tugged and wrestled with with it. I told them to stop, but they ignored me. They pulled like naughty puppies having a tug-0-war. No one intervened, so I had to – before they pulled my skirt off of me. I yelled at them as loud as I could, “STOP IT! STOP IT!

I got up, pulling my skirt back into place. I felt angry and close to tears, but calmed my voice enough to tell the boys, very firmly: “When a woman says no, it means NO!” Then I went in the other room, and the dream shifted to something else. It seems that after I calmed down, I was making other plans with a friend.

In bed this morning, I tried to imagine what this dream was about, besides the no means no  message which by itself is important.

While still in bed, I looked at Facebook from my phone. Many people had congratulated me on winning two blue ribbons at the Silver Arts event which of course I had to post on FB.

The self-doubt gremlin came back with a vengeance:

Now everyone thinks you’re such a good writer, and it’s such a big deal, but what if there were only three entries? That’s not a big deal. You’re an impostor! Stop building yourself up like you’re so hot. You probably shouldn’t have even posted that on FB since there weren’t a lot of entries…….

The little boys in my dream, trying to pull off my favorite skirt, were like self-doubt gremlins assaulting my hopes and dreams. So, I say to you again, gremlins:

STOP IT! GO AWAY AND LEAVE  ME  ALONE!

WHEN A WOMAN SAYS NO, SHE MEANS NO!

YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!

THOSE ARE MY BLUE RIBBONS,

AND I WON THEM FAIR AND SQUARE!

I’M A WRITER, AND I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR BUTT!

 

PS: Here’s my winning poem. It’s dear to my heart.

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/dreams-of-wild-communion/